Jonesboro Children's Trail

With the Jonesboro Children's Trail, the City will connect War Memorial Park and the Little Rock Zoo with the Hillary Rodham Clinton Children's Library and Learning Center (Children's Library) and the community south of I-630, creating a "Children's Zone" (Fig. 1).  On a larger spatial scale, the project will connect the bike network south of I-630 to the bike network north of I-630, including to the Arkansas River Trail and downtown, a project that will literally Unite Little Rock and address some of the scars left by I-630 (Fig. 2).

Photo collage visioning Jonesboro as the "Children's Trail".
Figure 1.  The "Children's Zone" concept will include an all ages and abilities connection between (left to right) the War Memorial Splashpad, the Little Rock Zoo, the Children's Library, and new opportunities in the repurposed War Memorial Park (image from Polk Stanley Wilcox).

Map showing how Jonesboro connects the bike network south of I-630 with the bike network north of I-630.
Figure 2.  There is an emerging, connected bike network south of I-630 and a growing bike network north of I-630, but these two networks have few connections between them.  The Jonesboro project is a critical connection between these networks to #UniteLR. 

We will repurpose the western fork of Jonesboro Dr. from 12th St. to the split just south of I-630 for bikes and pedestrians only (Fig. 3). The corridor will continue a physically separated sidepath over the Jonesboro overpass and on the left side of Monroe St. to the bike lanes on Zoo Dr. (Fig. 3).  More details below.

An aerial photo of Jonesboro with the approximate alignment of the Jonesboro Children's Trail.
Figure 3.  The Jonesboro Children's Trail will create an all ages and abilities sidepath from 12th St. to Zoo Dr.

12th Street Entrance

Since vehicles will move differently in this corridor, we want to make sure there is no ambiguity about where people enter.  There will be several changes to the Jonesboro/12th St. intersection to help everyone move safely and efficiently.

West Fork: The west fork will look completely different.  Curb and gutter will replace the current entrance, physically barring vehicles from entry (Fig. 4).  An arch will create a gateway to the Children's Zone (Fig. 5).  

East Fork:  The east fork will now accommodate two-way vehicular traffic. Jonesboro's mouth onto 12th St. will be widened to allow large vehicles to enter without conflict.  A traffic light with crosswalks will allow safe 12th St. crossing for bicycle and pedestrian traffic.  This is particularly relevant for equitable access and the greater bicycle network (see below).

Reconfigured vehicular entrance to Jonesboro from 12th Street.

Figure 4.  Reconfigured vehicular entrance to Jonesboro from 12th St. (image from Polk Stanley Wilcox).

12th St. entrance to the Jonesboro Children's Trail.

Figure 5.  12th St. entrance to the Jonesboro Children's Trail.  Note the gateway to the Children's Zone (image from Polk Stanley Wilcox).

12th St. to Overpass

The street will be repurposed for a bicycle and pedestrian path (Fig. 6).  We'll put in lighting to make the corridor safer and more comfortable.  Other placemaking elements may also be added.  A safe connection between the Jonesboro Children's Trail and the Children's Library will be a point of emphasis (Fig. 7).

Concept drawing of lighting and other elements between 12th Street and the overpass will help create a comfortable corridor.
Figure 6.  Lighting and other elements between 12th Street and the overpass will help create a comfortable corridor.

Concept drawing of the connection between the Children's Trail and the CALS Children's Library.

Figure 7.  Connecting the Jonesboro Children's Trail to the Children's Library is central to the project purpose.

I-630 Overpass

Placemaking elements on the overpass will serve trail users but will also advertise the City of Little Rock and the amenities in War Memorial Park (Figs. 8-10).

Aerial concept of the Jonesboro Children's Trail along the I-630 overpass.
Figure 8.  Aerial concept of the Jonesboro Children's Trail along the I-630 overpass (image from Polk Stanley Wilcox).3-D aerial concept of the Jonesboro Children's Trail along the I-630 overpass
Figure 9.  3-D aerial concept of the Jonesboro Children's Trail along the I-630 overpass (image from Polk Stanley Wilcox).

3-D concept of the Jonesboro Children's Trail on the I-630 overpass
Figure 10.  3-D concept of the Jonesboro Children's Trail on the I-630 overpass (image from Polk Stanley Wilcox).

Community Support

This project was the result of grassroots efforts. The Children’s Library was concerned about safe and equitable access; Jonesboro has no sidewalks and speeding traffic and 12th St. is a high traffic volume/speed street. CALS partnered with CLR Parks and secured a Safe Routes to Parks grant. They created a coalition, collected community input, created a Pop Up demonstration of BikePed facilities on Jonesboro, and hired Polk Stanley Wilcox/McClelland Engineering to lay groundwork for this application (summary report).

The CALS 2020 annual report summarized the project in this way: 

"With support from a Safe Routes to Parks Activating Communities grant and technical assistance from the Safe Routes Partnership, the Central Arkansas Library System (CALS) and Little Rock Parks and Recreation partnered to overcome racial and physical division to reconnect the Children’s Library neighborhood, a primarily Black neighborhood, with War Memorial Park."